Time Talks balances between clocks and people. Time is one of the central concepts in human life–we have daily cycles, life cycles and historic time, too. Different cultures have different understandings of time and certainly, within any culture, vastly different approaches exist. In our contemporary world, much discussion takes place about technology, speed, attention and depth. Time Talks does not lecture about time, but appreciates, asks about and explores several approaches to and with time.
Structurally, the exhibition contains three works made with clocks:
Liliana Porter's To Fix It from 2018, consists of the inner mechanism of a wall clock, along with a small figurine. There is no cabinet for the clock, no face and certainly no parts that are currently moving, thus time is not told. Scale is altered as the figure is barely an inch tall and it, according to the title of the work, is fixing the elements, yet the shift in scale makes the task daunting and one that will never be complete.
Meyer Vaisman's Live the Dream from 1988 includes a clock's face with the hours, minutes and seconds all marked and available to be counted, has the clock working and yet with just a little bit of patience, one realises that time is forever being ticked off backwards.
Richard Artschwager's Time Piece from 1989, works as a functional clock, yet has no numbers and also can be installed one of two ways and so time can be turned upside down.
Each of these works provides ways of thinking about time while also limiting the traditional reading of a clock. Juxtaposed with these three works are six other pieces that depict human forms in poses that are active and thus the moments portrayed all seem forever frozen as the viewer moves around them.
Kiki Smith's Little Offering forever prostrates herself all while being active, confident and also vulnerable. What will happen to this figure? Liliana Porter's Dialogue with Cup presents a surrealist conversation between a toy figurine and the image of a dog on a cup - what can and cannot be communicated between these two beings? Julian Opie's Delphine is a life-size, accurately cast three-dimensional bust of a woman but painted with shading' as if it were two-dimensional (all the while, the shadow of the sculpted nose falls on the painted shadow on the sculpture), so it not only is frozen in time, but conflates one's reading of different dimensions (with time being the fourth dimension!). George Segal's Sleeping Woman captures the delicate moment of a sleeping woman holding what appears to be a baby. A single moment in time, a moment in the lifespan of both the parent and the child and yet it's a moment that lives forever. Suara Welitoff's two photographs are low resolution video stills taken of human interactions, all within highly colour-saturated scenarios, but lacking much detail. Movement is suspended, understanding is open-ended and yet like the other works in the show, time (or the suspension thereof) holds much power over the figures depicted.
Humans work with and against time each and every day, especially in this technology-heavy society we now live in. Time Talks attempts to present a multitude of approaches to appreciate and challenge time and its ability to affect life.
Press release courtesy Krakow Witkin Gallery.